I realize by typing this, I’ve probably increased the chances that the Falcons, New England and Cleveland all are going to be docked draft picks this year for assorted alleged infractions. But at the risk of adding one plus one and getting 103, is it possible nobody will lose any picks this season?
The NFL released the full order of the draft Tuesday night. It was a little bit of a surprise because the league has yet to announce its findings and possible fines and draft pick penalties in three investigations: 1) Whether the Falcons pumped artificial noise through the speaker system during games at the Georgia Dome; 2) Whether the Patriots intentionally deflated footballs; 3) Whether a Browns’ executive sent text messages to a coach on the sideline.
Would the league release the entire draft order, only to then change it soon after? (The results of all three investigations are expected to be released in the next week or so.)
If teams are not going to be docked picks this year, there are two possibilities:
• Teams will be fined but not lose picks.
• Teams will lose picks in the 2016 draft.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank told our D. Orlando Ledbetter that he was “embarrassed and angered” over the noise investigation, which is as close as one can come to publicly admitting guilt.
The three-day draft will be held April 30 to May 2 in Chicago. The Falcons have eight draft picks, including an extra seventh rounder from a trade with St. Louis last year. The breakdown: first round (eighth overall), second (42nd), third (73rd), fourth (107th), fifth (146th), sixth (184th), seventh (225nd and 249th).
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